DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum (
-   HVAC (
-   -   radiator vs. forced air (

carbonater55 01-25-2007 04:36 PM

radiator vs. forced air
I have a friend who wants to buy a 3000 sq.ft. 100 year old home with hot water heat.
She has been told to replace the old boiler sys. with a forced air unit. and she will save a lot in in heating costs. I am not so sure if that is true.
Can any body tell me whats the most efficient way to heat an old 3 story home? A comeplete conversion or just upgrade the boiler and radiators?
The boiler and radiators are leaking and need to be replaced soon.

glennjanie 01-26-2007 01:37 PM

Welcome Carbonater:
There are new high effficiency boilers that are 1/3 to 1/2 the size but they do a bang-up job. There is no more comfortable or quieter heat than hot water as long as it has the air out of the lines. If she is not interested in air conditoning the forced air system would be a big disappointment; it won't save fuel any better than a new, high efficency boiler. Installing forced air would be a major job, taking out the radiators, plugging holes, getting rid of pipes, cutting holes for duct work; its a nightmare.
A hot water technician (hard to find) may be able to repair the leaks in the radiators and put in the new boiler. However, new radiators are also available.
I changed mine out for the forced air but I used a geo-thermal system so we could get central air too. It was still quite a challenge.

carbonater55 01-28-2007 09:28 PM

Thanks for the reply Glenn. You back up my thoughts.
Do you know if the newer baseboard radiators are more efficient then the old 4 Ft, ones?

glennjanie 01-29-2007 10:56 AM

I almost said yes but the baseboard heaters take up too much room. They may need to be 12' long and on 2 walls. I would stick with the standing ones if that is what exists. The change would be almost as troublesome as converting to forced air.
If a few of the 4' modles have gone bad they can be replaced; I think that would be the easiest shot. Caution: when moving the old ones out, they will be extremely heavy from the sediment inside them.

Mike9825 03-09-2007 11:45 PM

hey fellow Ohioian!

i've been in some of my buddies houses with boilers that over 50 years old. not the most efficient things in the world but they are more comfortable than forced air. Boilers are more expensive at first but are cheaper to operate and no noise coming from them. Modern day boilers are just as efficient as a modern forced air furnace and last longer IMO.

My Uncle lives in a 2 story home with a boiler and central A/C, the plumbing and duct work from downstairs is worse than a modern day car with all the computer wiring! beyond my knowledge. But with a 3 story home, i would say a boiler with a zoned system would be the way to go IMO -Mike-

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:07 AM.